Kerala to ask for probe into independent church’s wealth

June 12th, 2008 - 7:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, June 12 (IANS) Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan Thursday said the government will ask for a probe by a central agency into the huge amount of foreign exchange earned by independent Believers’ Church headed by K.P. Yohanan. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a public function, Balakrishnan said it has come to light that the Believers’ Church has foreign exchange earnings in excess of Rs.10 billion.

“It is only a federal agency, which deals with such issues, that can find out from where and how the money was received and how it was utilised. We will now ask for a probe by such an agency,” said Balakrishnan.

The church is based in Thiruvalla, about 120 km from the state capital, and began as a small Bible Society in the early ’80s. It also ran a successful and hugely popular Christian devotional programme on the radio.

According to a Kerala police report, Yohanan now has 14 trusts and 42 branches of the church outside the state.

He is now the supreme head of the Believers’ Church and got himself ordained as a ‘bishop’ a few years back.

He also runs educational institutions and owns large number of properties, including rubber estates.

“It has come to light that he owns a lot of properties and it has to be found out if there is any violation of the landholdings laws in the state. The revenue department will have to find out about this,” added Balakrishnan.

Over the last two weeks, Yohanan’s offices have been inspected by the Kerala police and it was found out that he was using high-power wireless system without getting the required license.

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